Obama Says He'll Veto the GOP's Abortion Bill

A year and a half after the president signed his major health-reform initiative, a dispute lingers over abortion and insurance

Obama walking to through columns - Jason Reed Reuters - banner.jpg

President Obama threatened on Wednesday to veto any bill that would restrict insurers from paying for abortions, saying it goes too far.

"Longstanding federal policy prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered," the White House said in a statement.

"The Affordable Care Act preserved this prohibition and included policies to ensure that federal funding is segregated from any private dollars used to fund abortions for which federal funding is prohibited."

The House is scheduled to take up the bill on Thursday. This bill, like the other antiabortion legislation passed earlier this year, will almost certainly pass the House but won't get anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Senate Republicans have even failed to force a floor vote on any of the House-passed antiabortion legislation, including a bill from Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) that permanently bans the use of federal funds for abortions. Instead, these pieces of legislation are negotiating chips Republicans can potentially attach to must-pass bills.

"It seems like whenever there's a lull in the action, the House brings out some antiwoman thing," Judy Waxman, vice president of health and reproductive rights at the National Women's Law Center, said in an interview. "They now have a whole list of antiwoman legislation they have in their back pocket passed by the House ... and they really do intend to attach to some pieces of legislation that must pass."

And that's exactly what antiabortion advocates would like to see.

"That's the question that we are currently asking. We are looking over at the Senate, to those who said, 'You didn't believe in public funding in abortion. Now's your chance to codify it,' " Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in an interview. "It'll be a gut check for the Republican leadership whether it gets to the floor for a vote."

But the bill "goes well beyond the safeguards found in current law," the White House said.

Image credit: Jason Reed/Reuters

Presented by

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Politics

Just In